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Looking Eastward

The University has unveiled a new website for its master plan that will outline growth on the Ithaca campus over the next twenty five years. While the site does not yet feature a lot of substantial information, it does have a link to the page of the University's transporation impact study, which will be conducted in tandem with the development of the master plan.

One interesting aspect of the site is the topographic map of the campus featured prominently on the site's main page. Curiously, the map is centered not above the spiritual center of the campus -- the Arts Quad -- but rather above the Vet School and the open areas of Game Fame Road. Might this give us some insight as to where the University is planning on expanding?

I've previously posted about the conundrum facing the university as it plans for the new Gates Hall -- it has no large building area on central campus even though the University wishes to place it in "close proximity to the Colleges of Engineering and Arts and Sciences and the new Life Sciences Building." This forces the University to look ever eastward when it looks for new areas suitable for building.

Which brings mention to this Ithaca Journal article discussing the new building. It claims that locations under consideration include "the old polo grounds below the Kite Hill area... and the far end of the university orchards on Route 366." Those areas aren't exactly in close proximity to either Arts and Sciences or Engineering. Combine this with the fact that Cornell is planning for a whole "information campus" next to Gates Hall complete with "a complex of linked buildings integrated with a variety of green spaces and common spaces designed to involve students and provide opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration," and it looks like the only choice the University will have to build these new buildings is eastward, out by the Vet School.

The only question remaining is how are students going to get to their classes on the new 'I-campus'. This is probably where the transporation study comes into play... and MetaEzra has heard rumors that the University is considering building some sort of dedicated people-mover to shuffle students across its increasingly expansive campus. Perhaps this will just involve an expansion of the bus system, but an extensive light-rail system connecting the University with the both downtown Ithaca and the airport would also be pretty cool (if not downright expensive). And here is just one example of how another hilly campus has managed its transportation woes. Personalized Rapid Transit, anyone?

But then again, as loyal Cornell alums, we couldn't imagine future students doing anything other than walking uphill both ways to class, during a blinding snowstorm, in 0 degree weather; only to fail a prelim.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on July 15, 2006 (#)

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